Web based Sketchup Free - Big Mistake

One can only imagine the motivation for killing Sketchup Make in favor of the “free” web-based Sketchup. One can only imagine that it was financial, that those at the top felt they were giving away too much by having Make be “free”. But I believe that while some new users might find the simplicity of the web UI appealing, there are so many negatives that people given the choice of going from Make to Pro or to the Free web-based tool, will quite likely opt out of Sketchup altogether. The free web based tool is not an adequate replacement for make and people won’t pay $600 to go Pro.

Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of people who will “play” with the web tool, possibly even use it effectively for some projects. It might even bring some into the Sketchup fold. But the step from there to Pro is too big. I suggest that a more effective strategy would have been to keep Make, but put a price on it - say, somewhere around 1/2 the price of Pro, AND have the free web based. That way you’re not cutting off your users (I suspect you have many more Make users than Pro) at the knees and offering an untenable choice - step back to an inferior and awkward web-based tool or pay up and go Pro. I predict you’ll lose more people by dumping Make than you would have by putting a $200 price on it.

As for me, that you have dropped the download version of Sketchup Make is very unsatisfactory. Timing is worse. I own the professional version and use it extensively. I am an evangelist of sorts, having encouraged more than a dozen people to download and use Make. A couple of them have gone on to buy Pro. I am a member of a woodworker’s club here in Sun City that has close to 600 members. I have been asked to teach Sketchup to any/all that are interested. While I like the idea of a web based version, I don’t want to teach it because I forces me to learn a 2nd UI very quickly (first class is tomorrow). Worse, the shop currently does not have wifi, so attendees cannot follow along on their laptops. Personally, I think this was a boneheaded mistake and I think you all will figure that out soon. I also believe, in the long run, people will be less likely to upgrade to professional due to the re-learning curve on the UI. Either I must cancel the class or tell people to download the Make 2017 version - which is exactly what I plan to do. Then, once they’re hooked, they can decide for themselves - do they want to buy the Pro version or relearn the UI on the web. At least they’ll have time to make that decision.

You’ve got Make - a subset of Pro, so it’s not like you have to support a separate code base - like you must for the Free web-version. So, let’s see, you’ve taken on additional development workload, cut off users loyal to the Make with no option to purchase it for a reasonable price, and are forcing people to go Pro. I don’t see that as a very smart business decision. But if you are somehow enamored with a web-based version, why not have three - Pro at $600, Make at $240 and Free at 0? Come to think of it, if you want to consume additional development resources, why web-based at all - why not do an app that runs w/o lifeline connection to cloud and runs on smart devices like tablets, etc.???

I don’t get it.


Yeah, I’m disappointed that they stopped making SketchUp Make too… I think the web app is awesome, but I think it’s lower quality than what it’s replacing. I wish they would’ve kept SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro the same as before the change, then just introduce SketchUp for Web. Although, SketchUp Make is still available, so that’s awesome. The only problem is that the change makes me paranoid about the future of SketchUp. Will SketchUp Make always be free to download? I’m hoping so, but the future worries me.

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There is an extremely long discussion on Make vs. Free/Shop/Web here:

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I totally agree. Sketchup free is useless to a vast number of amateur woodworkers because of the false assuption that everybody have Access to internet everywhere. For many of us that is not the case in the shop. I would have to print out everything I need in the shop (Which is not a good environmental practice), and every time I need to do a small correction I’d have to drive back to my house, do the correction, reprint and drive back to the shop.
A friend of mine teaches sketchup to amateurs. He has the paid Version, but many of his pupils will be in the same situation as me. He considers switching platform because of this. If he does, this will happen for his business as well.
I will probably use the lates desktop version a while longer, but if it’s not updated, it will be a matter of time before I also changes platform. What a pity.


Coming back to look at using Sketchup (never managed last time I was considering it) - I was really disappointed in it being transferred to the web. We´ve moved quite a bit out on the countryside - where our ADSL-internet is slower than my cellphone internet. (If anyone watch Netflix or YouTube - all other clients barely works).

So, this sort of renders “Sketchup” useless to me. I was planning on doing my first sketch of some renovating details - but now I will look for optional software that I can run on my computer. :disappointed_relieved:

Will it not be harder/more costly to have to update and develop two completely seperate plattforms as well - instead of doing a light version of a pro one?


Excellent argument here.

I agree, charge a lower price for the Make version ($100 - $200 range) and you will probably make more money than trying to get some of those customers to go to the PRO version or forcing them to substantially downgrade to the web based version.

Without a doubt the recent change is financially motivated, and I totally get that. SketchUp has been giving away the farm for years with its FREE make version. Why not charge for it and make some money rather than offer a FREE web based version which will make zero money.

Yes, if you offer a Make version it will probably cannibalize some of your potential PRO sales but without Layout and other premium features I don’t think it will be significant enough to really affect the bottom line. The additional revenue from a $150 Make would more than make up for this revenue disparity.

The web based version is a lose-lose solution. SketchUp doesn’t make any money and the user is stuck with an inferior product.

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Perhaps that is not the ultimate goal:

sketchup was great now with that Web version ,its a piece of ■■■■ ,i do not understand
Please go back to the old version quickly

I recognize that change is tough, which is why we are keeping the SketchUp Make 2017 desktop client available. We have every expectation that it will remain viable on your system for many many years to come. If it worked for you yesterday, it will still work for you tomorrow.

Please try to remember that there are real folks working really hard on SketchUp Free every day… and they read this forum, too. Let’s try to keep the comments civil. If you have specific feedback for features you’d like added or bugs you’d like fixed, the team is here and listening.


Here is a bug :smiley::

Here is something that might need fixing :smiley::

I get Sketchup Free - a simpler more basic experience for free.

What I am not understanding is I purchased Shop to do Woodworking models/plans with and I can’t see much of anything has changed from free. What exactly did I buy?

I was hoping for an experience much closer to Make, however the controls are different, the UI is different and the functionality seems to be a fraction of what Make had/has. I can’t run Make on this PC (It’s a Pixelbook Chromebook).

Will Shop ever be similar to make? There are almost zero resources around for trying to learn to use Free/Shop, everything on youtube etc is around Make. This would not be so bad if Shop had a similar set of controls as Make. Am I missing something? Is there some switch/preference I need to set to have it look/feel/behave as Make with regards to menus and controls (such as mouse)?

Failing that, any plans to release a new version of Make? perhaps one that works on Linux? I could at least run that on this Pixelbook.

I feel like I’m left with running Free, paying for Shop (which is just as limited it seems as free) or getting another PC just for Sketchup?

This page shows the various differences:


Shop already does a lot of things that Make doesn’t do, including many more file formats supported, and the advanced solid tools.

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Shop is the same as Free but with some features unlocked (Outliner, DXF support etc). Perhaps you can get a refund and instead invest in Pro which has the corresponding relation to Make.

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Pro is quite a bit out of my price range as a hobbyist woodworker. It really feels like their product people are completely not understanding their market segments. Make @ Shop prices makes sense, or Shop with Make like features makes sense.

Even more sense is moving to something like having their Web version be available via a downloadable Electron app. Can use the same code base to build both and offer Free, Shop/Make and Pro all from the same code base built for either Web or Local install with relatively minimal code changes other than locking out features based on subscription or license you own.

In fact, taking the existing offline Pro and moving it to a universal code base would be how I’d proceed if I was product manager for this, and then ensuring that we had multiple price and feature points to match up with the major needs of the customers without having to change how the product works so it’s an easier transition between tiers.

I’m just not feeling all that from this. I’ll make so with Shop, having to watch tutorials and then work out how to do what the person said in the interface I have, but it’s pretty shoddy.


I’m rather surprised that Trimble’s comparison page you conveniently provided does not mention a major difference between Free and Shop: that Shop is licensed for use in commercial activities, whereas Free is not.


I noticed that some time ago and got really surprised too. In my view the license is the difference. The rest is just icing on the cake. Some need all the Pro features, some need none. Most of it can probably be circumvented by plugins, but that’s besides the point. It’s the right to use the program commercially you pay for!

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Legalwise, Trimble’s lawyers are stating that you may not use Free commercially, instead of saying what you may do with Shop…

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